New York City residents now face a $500 fine for breaking social distancing rules, said Mayor Bill DeBlasio on Sunday. 

New York now has about half of the country’s coronavirus cases. As the virus continues to spread, the state government has asked nonessential businesses to shut down and nonessential workers to stay home. Since not enough people have been adhering to these rules, DeBlasio has ordered police officers to give out fines to those who refuse to disperse. 

DeBlasio said that $250 and $500 fines would begin for those who fail to disperse after being ordered to in public spaces. 

“You’ve been warned and warned and warned again,” the mayor said. “They’re going to give people every chance to listen, and if anyone doesn’t listen, then they deserve a fine at this point. I don’t want to fine people when so many folks are going through economic distress, but if they haven’t gotten the message by now, and they don’t get the message when an enforcement officer’s staring them in the face … that person then deserves the fine, so we’re going to proceed with that.”

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The pandemic has hit New York City the worst out of any city in the country, so much so that a field hospital is being set up in Central Park to help cope with the amount of infected people in need of hospitalization. The field hospital will hold 68 beds and is expected to be running by Tuesday. 

“We’re going to be using every place we need to use,” de Blasio said. “This is the kind of thing you will see now as this crisis develops and deepens.”

DeBlasio also announced that NYPD and MTA workers would force riders off trains if they are too crowded. The Staten Island Ferry will cut service to one boat per hour. Ferry ridership has dropped 86% since the initial guidelines were announced. 


It was also announced that more ambulances, tours and EMS crews would be added to keep up with the uptick in 911 calls. “The number of 911 calls have been skyrocketing and it’s putting a huge, huge demand on EMS,” de Blasio said. “We’ve never seen our EMS system get this many calls, ever.”

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